Singapore, India not discussing air travel bubble 'as Singaporeans understand it to be': CAAS

Singapore, India not discussing air travel bubble 'as Singaporeans understand it to be': CAAS

A Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 plane
File photo of a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 plane parked on the tarmac at Changi Airport on Oct 24, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Singapore is not discussing an air travel bubble arrangement with India as people here understand it to be, said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) on Thursday (Jan 28). 

CAAS was responding to media queries regarding a CNBC interview with India's High Commissioner to Singapore P Kumaran, where he said negotiations were ongoing for an air travel bubble between the two countries. 

"I think there is a fair amount of interest on both sides to try and enhance the connectivity, which we have enjoyed over the years," said Mr Kumaran in the interview, which was posted on the CNBC website on Monday. 

There was a proposal to gradually restore such connectivity and a "draft under negotiation", he said, without elaborating. 

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“Countries may have different understanding on what an air travel bubble is," said CAAS air transport director Daniel Ng. 

"Singapore is not discussing an air travel bubble arrangement with India as Singaporeans understand it to be," he added.  

A previously announced air travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong would have seen residents be able to travel between the two cities subject only to COVID-19 tests, without the need for quarantine or isolation periods. 

The bubble, which has been suspended due to a spike in cases in Hong Kong, would have no restrictions placed on the purpose of travel. 

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In contrast, air travel between Singapore and India is currently restricted only to special repatriation flights chartered by the Indian government, said Mr Ng.

"There is interest from both countries to explore resuming international scheduled commercial passenger flights between Singapore and India gradually," he added. 

However, travellers will be subject to travel restrictions and measures such as COVID-19 testing and stay-home notices, he said. 

"Discussions are ongoing," said Mr Ng. 

India has reported the highest number of COVID-19 infections after the United States, with 10.7 million cases and more than 150,000 deaths.

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Source: CNA/az(cy)

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